What I’m Reading Today

American Views on Terrorism: 15 Years after 9/11

“When asked how likely they think they would be the victim of a terrorist attack, most Americans believe they are either “not really” (52%) or “not at all likely” (20%) to be victims. However, almost a quarter believe it is “somewhat likely” (23%). This is a relatively large number…”

‘Consensus Statement’ to Force MDs to Kill/Abort

With Wesley J. Smith, I’m flabbergasted by a recent bioethicists’ statement that suggests physicians should not be given a conscientious exemption from participating in euthanasia and abortion, where those practices are legal.

Massachusetts: Churches may be covered by transgender discrimination bans, as to ‘secular events’

When it comes to banning discrimination against transgender persons, Eugene Volokh points out “where these rules are headed.” Hint: Some church events will be treated as public accommodations.

Free Webinar Links Pornography and Sex Trafficking

“The Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) and guest presenter, Dr. Sandie Morgan, will host a free webinar at 12 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, and 9 p.m. (EDT) Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, to present the link between pornography and sex trafficking. Designed to empower faith communities to integrate strategic action plans to educate and protect children and families, Morgan will take an in-depth look at the fantasies of pornography that drive purchasers and lure victims into sex trafficking.”

Choosing a New Church or House of Worship

What do Americans look for when searching for a new church? According to latest report from the Pew Forum: “Americans look first and foremost for a place where they like the preaching and the tone set by the congregation’s leaders.” That’s news you can use.

The New Stealth Translation: ESV

Scot McKnight detects unwarranted complementarian-friendly translation in the new ESV Permanent Text Edition (2016).

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Ranked America’s Largest Megachurch With 52,000 Weekly Attendance

And it’s not the only megachurch that’s gotten mega-er. There’s a downside, however: “With the rapid growth of megachurches in the United States, a negative relationship between size and frequency of attendance could serve to accelerate aggregate declines in attendance,” according to Socius, the journal of the American Sociological Association.

The Secret Jews of The Hobbit

Meir Soloveichik argues, “The dwarves of Middle Earth, the central characters of one of the most beloved books of all time, are indeed based on the Jews.”

Inside the World’s Only Surviving Tattoo Shop For Medieval Pilgrims

I don’t have any tattoos (and don’t really want one anyway), but that 300-year-old stencil of St. George killing the dragon is pretty cool…

The Vatican unseen: inside the secret world of the workers – a photo essay

Because even the floors of St. Peter’s Basilica need an occasional waxing…

Review of ‘The Psalms, ESV’

the-psalms-esvThe Psalms, ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014). Hardcover

The Psalter is the prayerbook of Israel and the Church. Unfortunately, many American evangelicals do not make regular use of it in their personal and corporate worship. Some years ago, I began using it for morning and evening prayer, and I have found my faith in God enriched through the practice.

A few months ago, I discovered that Crossway had published The Psalms, using its English Standard Version. The ESV is a good translation, though it is not the translation I use most regularly. Nonetheless, I was impressed with the beauty and utility of The Psalms and decided to use it for personal worship.

What makes The Psalms helpful?

First, it presents the psalms in a single column, removes explanatory subheads and notes, and moves the chapter and verse numbers to the side so that they do not intrude on the reader’s vision. This has the effect of emphasizing the poetic structure of the individual psalms and concentrating the reader’s attention on their words. The Psalms is a beautiful presentation of the Psalter’s beautiful prayers.

Second, The Psalms is well constructed, with a leather-like cover over hard board. (A top-grain leather edition is also available, as well as a standard hardcover edition.) Its pages are thick–unlike the onion paper of most Bibles–and hence durable for daily use. Finally, it fits easily into the hand, large enough to accommodate pages with a good-size font (11 point, in fact), but not so large that it is unwieldy. This is a prayer book-sized Psalter, easy to hold and small enough to fit into a suit pocket or purse.

Finally, though the ESV is not my preferred translation, as noted above, I find its translation of the psalms very helpful. The word-for-word (or formally equivalent translation) retains much of the language of the King James Version (and its English successor translations) without being antiquarian.

Obviously, if you don’t use the Psalter daily, there is no special need to purchase The Psalms in any translation–let alone the ESV–when you can simply read them in your Bible. On the other hand, if you do use the Psalter as a daily prayer book, The Psalms is an option that you should look into.

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

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